Peter says something interesting about us in 1 Peter 2:5. He describes us as being “like living stones.”
What does it mean to be like living stones? In what way can an inanimate rock be a living stone?
The ancient Jewish people were quite familiar with the concept of “living stones.” At various times they were instructed by God to set up stones as a memorial of what God had done. But the stones were never intended to be only a relic of times past—-a reminder of what God had done years before. They were meant to be a living monument—-an ongoing witness—-to who God is. The aim of the stones was not just to point to what God had done in some past age but to who God continues to be. An early example is found in Joshua 4. After the Jewish people entered “the Promised Land” by walking across the Jordan River bed on dry ground, Joshua told the people to set up 12 stones as a memorial, and this explanation was given: “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’… [God] did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God” (Joshua 4:21-22 & 24). The rocks were like “living stones” giving an ongoing testimony to the power and the love of God.
When Peter describes us as being “like living stones,” this is a significant part of what he has in mind. God continues to want people throughout the world to see and discover His love and character and power. Where will people find such evidence now? Not in a pile of stones, but in us! God’s call to us now is not to set up a bunch of stones but to be living stones ourselves. God’s design is that people will look at us and see evidence of who God is and what God has done and what God is doing.
That’s scary to me because I am not always good evidence of who God is and of the good work God is capable of doing. But I need to face the reality that whether I like it or not, people look at me (and at any who bear the name “Christian”) and form their judgment about God by what they see in me (and in us). God, may I be more shaped by Your love and goodness so that when people look at me they find a better bit of evidence of who You truly are.